Where'd You Go, Tami Sue?
Wow, what a long, strange year it's been. Starting in October, 2018, I've had 2 joint replacements at the base of my thumbs. It's called an LRTI Arthroplasty, and it has been a very long journey. An LRTI Arthroplasty consists of removing the trapezoid bone in the wrist and replacing it with a tendon from the forearm. On October 1, 2018 I had my right thumb done due to irreversible psoriatic arthritis damage. This consisted of 2 weeks in a splint, followed by 3 weeks in a cast. It's amazing how useful thumbs are...On December 10, 2018, I had the same surgery on the left thumb. This time, I had 10 days in the splint, and 52 days in a cast. This was followed by months of occupational therapy. The good news? The excruciating, constant pain is long gone. Oh, it still aches, and I can't tie my shoes yet, but it is an amazing difference! Those tendons are slowly strengthening up, and I'm very, very happy to have 2 hands at my disposal.
In August, I finally bit the bullet and shaved what was left of my hair...and started Otezla the same week. I had very little hope of Otezla working, after failing so many meds, but I'm happy to announce that it is working great! The side effects were pretty severe to start, but the upside? I've lost over 20 pounds that I desperately needed to lose, which makes me over halfway to my goal weight!
The moral of the story is: Psoriatic disease doesn't take coffee breaks, vacations or holidays. The damage and destruction from PsA can happen quickly, and once it does, it's permanent. The fact is that many of us have symptoms for years before PsA is diagnosed, and once we start having symptoms, that damage is already starting.
We have come a long way in understanding psoriatic disease, but this isn't a one size fits all disease. It doesn't have a cure, and since we are all different, medications can work differently. The most important thing to know is that psoriatis can have serious consequences! The internal inflammation from psoriasis can affect joints and organs, resulting in PsA, cardiovascular, liver, kidney, pancreas, digestive system and eye diseases. We have a greater risk of secondary, or comorbid diseases, like heart disease, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and uveitis, lymphoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, infections from broken skin and additional autoimmune diseases. We have a 30% chance of developing psoriatic arthritis. We are at higher risk of depression, anxiety, insomnia, obesity, metabolic disorder and even suicide.
Psoriasis isn't cosmetic, what you see on the outside comes from the inside. Everyone who has psoriasis should be screened regularly for comorbidities. You can print out a list of comorbidities from the National Psoriasis Foundation website and take it to your doctor. Don't underestimate psoriasis. In the words of a very wise friend, "You can ignore your psoriasis, but it won't ignore you."